thumbnail of Urban Confrontation; 1; Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
Confrontation I mean Alice is of the continuing crises facing 20th century many many American cities. How do you feel about President Nixon's decision on the ABM missile system. I'm against it totally because we got as a what they tell you. I've been on the inside for a quarter of a century. There is no anti missile that will be effective. Judge Balt is speaking for a closed session of MIT and Harvard and here in this town the other day pointed out that regardless of our anti-ballistic system and major nuclear war it would not only be 50 million Americans killed but eyes he said. That tiny little uranium bombs we killed 200000 and Hiroshima and Nagasaki there were
200000 with me and blind in there and just took a little longer to die. Today's recorded guest is Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. representative from Harlem. Sees program. Adam Clayton Powell has he paid his dues. Here is your host Mr. Leader. We should tell the audience that we are driving in a cab with Adam Clayton Powell. I'm Paul has just finished a speech at the Northeastern University auditorium and the distinguished speaker series Congressman Adam Clayton Powell the audience knows you as a Baptist clergyman in a northern ghetto Harlem. How does a Democratic politician finally order on all the other controversial personality. What precisely is the role that you play Congressman power in the black revolution. I would say yeah I'm a senior citizen of the revolution. They black revolution is composed mainly of those not later than their late
20s I was but married 20s and some of the teens too. But I bridge the gap having been through a revolution and the 20s and the 30s and I never lost the power it's young people when you feel that your constituency extends beyond the political limits of Harlem. I would say after 40 years of public life. And where the church is large is mine close to 12000 members and a quarter of a century and Congress. And passing legislation for this nation during my chairmanship and I pass sixty laws which I never last won by the way that my parish. You are the person with a national parish would you say that you are a spokesman for black Americans all across the United States. No I don't think anyone as a spokesman for black America and all blacks are going through
finding a center. Focal found out through which to grace their view because there is no one nation a black leader. And that's been the mistake that right pivot made through the years. They thought when they talked to I was going to Whitney Young or even Martin Luther King they were talking to the nation. There is none. You are a Democrat congressman power now from a strictly political point of view is the Democratic Party still the natural home for the black voter. Or should the Democratic Party be blasted Stokely Carmichael contends. Stock is wrong because. There is no place for the black writer to go and this is. The one mistake they have again making They made it. On the Herbert Hoover when they had the black vote and the days of Abraham Lincoln.
And FDR took the black vote away from the Republicans. And now the black vote is Democrat because it's no place to go. Almost one year ago today and I cab driving out to Logan Airport we asked a similar question to another black man similar to you in some respects Jackie Robinson and he said the Stokely Carmichael wanted to Rap Brown the wrong on a lot of things. How can black leaders like yourself and Robinson stand up against the new young bucks of the black revolution and say they are wrong. Oh I don't stand up against them at all. And my credentials are entirely different than Jackie Robinson and say I paid my dues. My black minister a black congressman and all my support and all my income comes from black people. Jackie I have a hand. Thank as we cede Dadi any money if any. Many black people in his life.
So there's no resemblance at all between Jackie Robinson myself that's why I can tell it like it is. And still he's been down to see me twice. And. They haven't been easy Jackie Robinson once. Let's talk about another guest we've had in front of our microphones in recent weeks. Dick Gregory would you say that you have perhaps more in common with Gregory than with Robinson and that perhaps you can speak to black Americans on all of the degrees of the American political spectrum. Oh yes. I asked that Greg and I we did the scene to get. Some Bangs he doesn't agree with me on some I don't agree with him on but basically we did the scene and Vine is beautiful. What about Roy Wilkins of the NWC picked by Wilkins as a has been Gone With The Wind. At the time of your expulsion from the House of Representatives there were rumors that you were considering starting a third party. Presumably a bloc party would such an effort
really be in the best interests of America's blacks. How I know where that woman came from because I never intended that. It was and was unnecessary because I controlled the Democratic Party of not only Holland might I control the judicial convention of the Bronx. And the bad Manhattan. And we are sending up this you have three black. Supreme Court judges and I control my votes. Let's talk about the concept of control and another institution in our society and the church the Christian church. Some black radicals feel that the Christian churches control the minds of black Americans far too long and now the next. In his autobiography he wrote that the Christian religion is an enemy of the black people on the grounds that it has in a sense asked the black people to be satisfied with their lot even though this lot is often a miserable one. Now you Congressman power up a question. Clergyman How would you answer. Malcolm X's denunciation of your Christian
religion. And I will answer that as I have told him to his face when he was living. That he's talking about right Christianity trying to control banks. And I belong to an all black church. Ah black financed. And Charlie can chose my checked it off. And fact than Wang around my neck tonight. A decoration given to me by a member outside Lassie was head of the Coptic church because my Chex was founded by blacks from what is now called Ethiopia. They used to be called Addison. We should pause at this point in the program to tell the audience that may have just tuned in. That we are driving along in a cab to Boston's Logan Airport from Northeastern University and with Adam Clayton Powell who was just given a speech in the distinguished beakers series lecture at Northeastern University. Congressman Paul you mentioned Africa. If the opium. What about the idea of the
Afro-American culture. Baghdad finance long overdue and. Harvard University faculty Kamehameha nanas The recommended. Establishment of this 30 percent degree and the university is going along with it. I was banned but also Yale. And so it's just something that's long overdue. That's what some white Americans say that you know what black and white no one seemed to want and that is black culture. Courses in the colleges around the country. But if this comes to pass then there should be Irish culture courses Italian culture courses. Is this a fair demand special forces were people. Yes I think it is a definite aim for any American. Who wants to study the culture and the history of his past. What about the particular problem of the Carter commission emphasized the increasingly bitter feeling between the police and the black ghetto dweller. Like I
said All situation perhaps not quite as hypothetical as people might think. What if you were mayor of the city of New York where you come from. What would you do to dampen the fires of racial antagonism there. Number one I would quote ethnic policeman. On duty in the ethnic areas such as Italians and Italian areas. Jews in Jewish areas. And blacks and the back area. I thought we were a united nation. Is this the American way. Robert Shirley hasn't been in any kind of American Way as up to date. So this is a new idea the American way as of the day is to keep the black man. In his place which means second class that is Jeff. I'm trying to establish an America way there's never been an American way. What about a nonracial big city problems. If you were the mayor
of a big city like New York there is talk that you may run as a minority candidate sometime in the next two years in New York City. There obviously are many problems which are not of a racial origin. Air pollution for example affects everyone no matter what the color of their skin. Garbage collection problems the teachers union strikes. How would you handle these problems. Well I think that mixing up you have problems with city and state and federal Appaloosa is definitely a federal problem. Now is it God's teaches strikes. We haven't had any teachers strikes in Iraq except when white teachers didn't want black peaches to take their places. In Black. And Puerto Rican sanctions and. Shang-Chi Xining at state because they resented the fact that the buttering of the place in those areas. And by the way TIME magazine said that the black teachers and. Teaching along with
a new breed of cats might. Get a better job than any other school district any and by a city of New York. You mentioned the role of the federal government should play in solving one particular city problem they are pollution. The point has been made that despite the programs that have been passed by the federal government and the Congress there is still a need a profoundly massive federal commitment to the American city. Would you agree. Yes but I guess the lesson is if I don't you Gav anti-pollution New York City Newark New Jersey thing out of the way and running the agony aka the wind blows from the south west. Well the question is now obviously is the federal government about to commit itself to the degree necessary to solve any problems and doesn't merit New York City John Lindsay has stated that at least 100 million dollars so I need it roughly the amount of our total foreign aid program since the end of World War 2. Now.
Is this about right is this the kind of support. That would be needed. I do not know how much money is needed. But I do know there can be a federal law. That will prevent air pollution. So that those who do it out install them say no. No no means keeping down pollution could be guilty of a federal crime. And he's totally wrong. We don't need the money the federal government to stop pollution factories can do it. And right now there isn't a car manufacture in the United States of America that doesn't have. On the drawing rights and has had two or three is a very simple mechanism to put on cars to stop the pollution from the fumes of automobiles. But they were doing this. No the American passion is more interested in chrome than in air pollution.
We're going to pause here for a moment and let the audience hear a portion of the conversation that I had with you at an earlier point in the evening a press conference that you held. Other provocative answers that you gave to my questions at that time. Congressman Paul would you give your appraisal of the Nixon administration up to this date. I would say that the job makes the man. I got a personal note from President Nixon utilized. And he reminded me I had not entirely forgotten but that the years I had forgotten. It's a long time since we were together twenty two years ago in the committee education and I think I would say that he's made some mistakes. A lot of us didn't I want and I think the way he's handling student disorders with his statement is very good. Shifting it to the campus officials. I do not like his fragmentation of the warm poverty which I expected due to
my association with my Republican friends on the committee Education and Labor. I do not like the ways that he handled Vietnam by saying he doesn't see any way in the foreseeable future for getting out of Vietnam. But I do think that here is going to be. Better president than a lot of us hoped. And much to the chagrin of his supporters we hear a lot of talk about trying to solve the problems in our cities autumn. Paul do you ever get the feeling that it is just not just talk. When I had a debate so-called debate with Sandy already at Michigan State or a friend of mine I called him suffering the same and he said why do you call me something Stan. I said because anybody who is the mayor of a big city today with the same you already John Lindsay or Daley they have problems which are almost insurmountable.
I believe in the new urban approach which you have in the fashion I was beginning to move towards and cutting down all of these gigantic cities into municipalities. Congressman Paul in relation to your speech tonight at the Northeastern University distinguished speaker series what do you see as the future of the black man in government. Will the black man attempt to work through the system. Well a black man in government today is not a basic problem of the black man. You not only have an America generation gap but you also have in America today black leadership gap. How can the black man and the masses is looking for a black leadership on the basis of black organizations rather I should say Nick Robinson and there's a difference in black and Negro being subsidized by whites.
I would say the future of the black masses today rests in whether they are going to be satisfied which is an impossible job. Semi satisfied with the visible future for the black masses and they're not going to go through the old organizations before the polls there's a lot. Talk today about the problem of hunger in the Deep South. Do you feel that the problems of hunger in the big cities New York Chicago Cleveland San Francisco Los Angeles that these problems are as clear to the American public. Yes and man's hungry hungry by problems more widespread. That's why I have my views concerning the aftermath. I say why should we go all the official way and having Be off when we have international groups such as the Red Cross and care and un
I'll back them up with money. Let's make sure that we don't have these 32 million poor in America who are starving and as Armageddon has already brought out and I talked on the given the other day going to Mississippi and Alabama without actually starving because the governments of those states will not allow surplus free food. But the federal government to come in. How do you feel about President Nixon's decision on the ABM missile system. I'm against it totally because we got to what they tell you. I've been on the inside for a quarter of a century. There is no anti missile that will be effective. George Balt speaking for a close session of MIT and Harvard. And here in this town the other day pointed out that regardless of the Rand type of mystic system
and major nuclear war it would not only be 50 million Americans killed but as he said in that tiny little uranium bombs we killed 200000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were 200000 let me live in the line there and just took us along to die. I wonder if we could shift the questioning and the section of the interview to this attack the radio series on which this program will be playing has devoted much attention in recent weeks to the communications media. Now in your opinion does the press present a distorted view of the black man and his aims to white America. I most definitely but I was trying to capture that the former executive editor of The New York Times once told me one night at Sardi's which at that time was right next to the editorial offices of the times that day and that a supposedly prestigious newspaper when a
story is written by. Report I see a big BYLINE Right at my home a big house and south of Tom Wicker Scotty Reston That's the newspaper 17 people handle that story and edit it as they desire. Then he also told me. That there is a gap between the editorial board that writes the editorials. And the newspaper but that prints the news and then now it was reported very recently that the New York Times confessed they were going into the area of editorializing then news accounts. How pervasive is this problem. Do you know that there are some black radicals who believe that. The program hosts radio program hosts like myself
are racists and that the mass media is a racist institution. Do you believe this sort of tripe. Well I don't believe that all of the media can damned in one fell swoop. But I do believe that most of the Medion throughout this nation are consciously or unconsciously racist. How this is. This is quite a swipe at the profession of which I'm a member. That's quite a swipe at perhaps of white people in general since white people run the professional mass media profession what about the average white man of goodwill who works on a job he tries to raise a good family he works hard and wants time to rest. Many people accuse the average white man of being apathetic and they equate apathy with racism. Let's get down to the tax here do you agree with this kind of equation. Does white apathy on racial and poverty questions equal white racism.
Yes I think any apathy and or indifference and I do anything I can excuse his ignorance towards the problems that are facing America and to create indicate some form of racism. Well what would you have lights that want both races to live in peace. Do do to help create the conditions for racial peace. One of the freshest price I would say that the newspapers should stop having tokenism as you guys report as on their staffs and that. As we're seeing more and more are. And radio and TV in New York and also Miami and New York and other and Washington other cities back man back when I could prying key positions. Has a common date is an interview that is increasing my own sign as associate producer of CBS television news. That is the only solution I see because nobody can tell it like it is.
And if he is I want to weather this increasing high visibility of black Americans really has any real significance. The current commission report released in March of 1968 seem to state that the United States is far from moving together on racial questions is moving steadily toward two societies. Black and White separate and unequal. How is this view true. Should we be elated about progress. Now there's been no progress in a battle. We were years ago and the only way they can wipe out this racism gap is to close the student and young people in poor people's gap because those are the people who are the only hope for healing this schism between the two groups. What about another source of hope. Right got American dollar and the possibility that there will be more dollars to solve city racial urban problems after the Vietnam War is over. Do you anticipate that after that war is
over this nation will turn to its orbit and racial crisis and give it the full attention that it deserves. Common Cause is right in the Saturday Review. He has a go. The American economy meaning Dow Jones average Wall Street the stock exchange and satirize. Cannot stand the shock of peace. So I am very cynical I believe that Vietnam is phased out and that the people that are making their fortunes from this war will find some other vehicle to keep watch and pace up near the end of the program. Congressman powers we pull up to Logan International Airport in front of the Eastern Airlines sign as we say off to our right. I'd like to ask you whether you have anything but cynicism with regard to the future of race relations in this country is there any optimism that is valid counted black and white Americans overcome their differences and do what needs to be done to avoid what some people predict may happen very soon fairly So a civil war here in America.
Well as I said an obvious then I have sat on 62 other campuses before over 300000 young people 99 percent of which were white and that the only hope for America rests in the hands of the students black and white on the campuses and the poor are now when people start talking about our civil rights. I want people to realize that I have a civil war calms it's not going to be a civil war of white vs. black. It's going to be a civil war if a comma is white and black against the establishment. Because America has seen night after night. The way their sons and daughters fight right beaten by daily in daily town. So it's not a question of white versus black. It's a question. Young people still to. Have poor people uniting together against the establishment.
And mock my wife. There are a lot of fathers and mothers living in X whose sons eye going to universities who agree with them 100 percent by death Fred because. I have a junior executive positions that they will lose their jobs. And they keep their mouths shut but they have come up to me repeated everywhere I've gone north and south and said they're proud of what our son our daughter what they're doing. You're an outspoken about Adam Clayton Powell. That description just may be the understatement of the political decade Thank you Congressman. Thank you Good be with you. Northeastern University has brought you Congressman Adam Clayton Powell junior representative from Harlem. He's programmed. Completing. His heat his YOU. Diffuse into thin distressed not necessarily with me since it was on the program post our Northeastern University
for the state. Questions asked are merely the moderators method of presenting many sides of today's topic. Your program host has been Joseph Armfield director different radio productions. Even confrontation is produced by the authors of educational resources. At the communications center of the nation's largest private university. Northeastern University comments on this program or request for a recorded copy of any program in this series may be addressed to urban confrontation. Northeastern University of Boston Massachusetts home to one side. This week's program was produced by Martin Kaiser directed by James Frey with technical supervision by Richard Lerner. Ticket producer Vorderman confrontation did Martin by. The news it by fire and ice. Your announcer Dave. This is the national educational radio network.
Urban Confrontation
Episode Number
Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Producing Organization
Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-3n20h71w).
Series Description
Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
Asset type
Public Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-5-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Urban Confrontation; 1; Adam Clayton Powell Jr.,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Urban Confrontation; 1; Adam Clayton Powell Jr..” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Urban Confrontation; 1; Adam Clayton Powell Jr.. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from